U.S. Geological Survey will map key agricultural aquifer

October 30, 2018

The U.S. Geological Survey will begin aerial mapping of one of the nation’s most important aquifers for agriculture beginning in the first week of November.

The Mississippi River Valley Alluvial Aquifer covers parts of seven states. Due to intensive farming, groundwater in the region — particularly in Arkansas — has declined in recent decades. The aquifer is also located in Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and Tennessee.

The first two weeks of flights in November will focus on southern Arkansas and western Mississippi. A helicopter with instruments on it will map the aquifer to a depth of 1,000 feet. This data will then be turned into a three-dimensional model.

The mapping project is being coordinated by the USGS in partnership with state agencies.